Stevenage to Edinburgh for 20

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Choothemoo

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Hi I'm organising a group trip to Edinburgh on the 31/8/12 departing after 12:00 then returning on 2/9/12 after 14:00
There are 20 of us going would we be better of buying railcards?
Any advice would be gratefully received
 
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142094

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Depends on how many would be eligible, and the type of railcard needed (and also if you are likely to use them again in future).

It most likely will be cheaper getting some sort of GroupSave ticket, although someone else will be able to advise.
 

HST Power

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If you are returning after 1400 then make your way down to Newcastle and you can get the 1730 straight back to Stevenage with no changes.
 

Aictos

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I've looked on the East Coast website and found this, click here.

Hope this is also useful?

Group Travel Service

If you’re making a group booking for 10 or more people on East Coast – whether you’re organising a school trip for a class, or a weekend away for you and some friends – you’re better off making your booking through our Group Travel Service.

After all, group bookings on East Coast come with a whole group of benefits:

• Best Fares guarantee – we’ll price match our web fares, thus guaranteeing you access to the cheapest East Coast Advance fares.
• Seat reservations can be made so you can sit together where possible – this can’t be done when booking as smaller groups online
• All Railcards are valid against the relevant fares
• Save on on board food with discounts on breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks or refreshments. Get a 20% discount with Catering Vouchers. All vouchers are valid in any East Coast Café Bar as well as the trolley. Catering can be arranged in advance on request.
• With groups of 20 students, in most cases, teacher goes free
• Connecting journeys can be booked in advance on other operator’s routes.
• Save on the Tube with discounts on London Underground tickets for groups travelling to or from London.

If you're arranging a corporate function or even a school outing to can hire an entire East Coast train to take you to your destination along our route.

Arrange your group trip by calling Group Travel on 08457 225 225.
 

Choothemoo

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Update booked the tickets via group booking £89 each return! Group booking no longer guarantee matching web fares and We have to change twice to get that price I only budgeted £100 for travel but if I budgeted an extra £10 we could have flown saved four hours I now see why the trains service is on it's arse and will do my best to recommend to everyone I can that it is not a valid form of travel
 

Clip

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Update booked the tickets via group booking £89 each return! Group booking no longer guarantee matching web fares and We have to change twice to get that price I only budgeted £100 for travel but if I budgeted an extra £10 we could have flown saved four hours I now see why the trains service is on it's arse and will do my best to recommend to everyone I can that it is not a valid form of travel
Yup you do that. Then you can also tell them how it would be around a tenner each to get to Edinburgh airport then at least a tenner each to get from either luton or stanstead to stevenage and the extra time on top for both the airport journeys so about an hour on top each way..

So i make that by plane around 3 hours and £120 or save £40 but add an extra hour.
 

reb0118

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My advice would be take to the train but to book on line as smaller groups to obtain the best fares. I understand that you would prefer to sit together but in any group of 20 there will be group dynamics and the large group will split into smaller groups anyway. It will be up to you as group leader* to allocate the seat reservations and smooth out any difficulties en route - I wouldn't really foresee any.

With regard to flying over taking the train for Edinburgh - London (& intermediate stops) I personally feel that the train wins hands down nearly every time (I only fly when I have a connecting flight from a London Airport these days) - when comparing you do have to take in the complete door to door timings into consideration not to mention the extended check in times at the airport these days.

I must, however, also state that I am not always impressed with the groupsave deals that I see from time to time. One example will suffice:-


e.g. A coach party [approx 30 pax] boarded at an unstaffed station on a Saturday before 09:15. One third of the party held senior rail cards. As the route became circular they wished to travel the full circle without alighting back to their originating station.

The tour organiser contacted the railway's group travel department to find the best fare. I will summarise the advice given 1) A 10% group discount would be applied BUT on the SDR fare as it was before 09:15, 2) The senior railcard holders were advised to forgo their discount so everybody could get a 10% reduction, & 3) The tickets were issued to the furthest station on the circle.


In my view there were three compound errors 1) As it was Saturday off peak tickets were valid all day on that flow - the CDR should have been the base fare, 2) To maximise the discount the senior railcard holders should have been taken out the equation - 20 pax are enough to obtain the standard 10% group discount. If, and this would be a internal matter for the coach party, they wanted to equate the fares then by simply adding the combined [group + 10x senior RC fare] amount and dividing by 30 this would be achieved, & 3) a moot point but as the party were not alighting en route then the fare should have been offered to the first stop past the junction where the circular route diverges not the furthest.

The passengers would have been cheaper buying their tickets from me on the train! However the adverts and warnings mislead passengers into sometimes making expensive mistakes. In the above case, although there were three compound errors, I do not think the office was trying to overcharge the passengers - it simply comes down to training & experience. If you do decide to take the train again (& I urge you to give it a second chance) then do come back to the site for advice if you think the fares quoted are too dear. Experts on here - not me sadly - will try to get your fare down and if not explain why.


*As group leader it is surely allowed to book yourself into 1st Class as this will give you a relaxed journey far from the madding crowd. This can be achieved by combining your 1st fare with the various small group fares and dividing by the total number of passengers. Therefore everyone pays a small premium for all your hard work in sorting out their travel arrangements. Of course you will have to appoint a deputy to oversee your colleagues in steerage but that's what leadership is all about. :p
 

LE Greys

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My advice would be take to the train but to book on line as smaller groups to obtain the best fares. I understand that you would prefer to sit together but in any group of 20 there will be group dynamics and the large group will split into smaller groups anyway. It will be up to you as group leader* to allocate the seat reservations and smooth out any difficulties en route - I wouldn't really foresee any.

With regard to flying over taking the train for Edinburgh - London (& intermediate stops) I personally feel that the train wins hands down nearly every time (I only fly when I have a connecting flight from a London Airport these days) - when comparing you do have to take in the complete door to door timings into consideration not to mention the extended check in times at the airport these days.
Also Stevenage-Edinburgh advice from someone who does Stevenage-Aberdeen a lot. Get yourself on one of the York semi-fasts from Stevenage. If you can travel half an hour earlier, the 11:27 is very convenient. That way, you only have to make one change at what is a very nice station, and it is almost always a flat change on a platform with a refreshment room. Going the other way, the 18:30 stops at Stevenage on Sundays. If that's too late for you, get the 14:00 or 15:00 to Peterborough and change to a local train there. Times are quick and it's very convenient.
 

34D

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Yup you do that. Then you can also tell them how it would be around a tenner each to get to Edinburgh airport then at least a tenner each to get from either luton or stanstead to stevenage and the extra time on top for both the airport journeys so about an hour on top each way..

So i make that by plane around 3 hours and £120 or save £40 but add an extra hour.
Stevenage to Stansted would nudge an hour I think, then there's the check-in time (60 or 90 mins perhaps).
 

sheff1

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Update booked the tickets via group booking £89 each return! Group booking no longer guarantee matching web fares and We have to change twice to get that price
A quick search on the East Coast site allowed me to book 20 Advance tickets at ~£74 each (return) with only one change in each direction. This without any railcard deductions which would reduce the cost further.
 

Deerfold

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Update booked the tickets via group booking £89 each return! Group booking no longer guarantee matching web fares and We have to change twice to get that price I only budgeted £100 for travel but if I budgeted an extra £10 we could have flown saved four hours I now see why the trains service is on it's arse and will do my best to recommend to everyone I can that it is not a valid form of travel
Presumably you didn't check this against the web prices as advised?
 

reb0118

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I'd still suggest contacting them directly to see what deal they can do you - but check the web prices for 3+ too.
That was good advice above.

However you would think that the "Group Travel Office" would at least offer a similar offer as it really defeats the point of offering a group discount. It may be because offering a group discount on top of a reduced fare could be seen as a double discount and all retailers (except DFS maybe) seem to dislike double discounts. These groups always have the option to hire a coach for door to door travel - this is something the TOCs should take into consideration when pricing group travel.
 

Choothemoo

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Presumably you didn't check this against the web prices as advised?
We got prices online which were £50 return but was advised by group booking that we could only book 9 seats at a time and when we go to book again the price would shoot up so by using the group booking was the only way we could properly budget for the whole group

Half our group are from Bishops Stortford so traveling to airport would not be a problem and once at edinburgh airport a £5 open return bus ticket gets us to the city centre so yes I'm truly looking forward to a 5 hr train ride with two changes because this was the cheapest option
 

Deerfold

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We got prices online which were £50 return but was advised by group booking that we could only book 9 seats at a time and when we go to book again the price would shoot up so by using the group booking was the only way we could properly budget for the whole group

Half our group are from Bishops Stortford so traveling to airport would not be a problem and once at edinburgh airport a £5 open return bus ticket gets us to the city centre so yes I'm truly looking forward to a 5 hr train ride with two changes because this was the cheapest option
You appear to have been poorly advised by group booking, especially if some of your rail party have railcards - I've just managed to put 20 seats for the 1428 up and 1507 down for £1667.60 in my basket (£83.38 each) - you can only put 9 at a time in the basket, but you can keep adding before paying. This is made up of 18 advances and 2 super off peak returns and is. This would be lower is any people have railcards. There is only 1 change in each direction on these services.
 

sheff1

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You appear to have been poorly advised by group booking, especially if some of your rail party have railcards - I've just managed to put 20 seats for the 1428 up and 1507 down for £1667.60 in my basket (£83.38 each) - you can only put 9 at a time in the basket, but you can keep adding before paying. This is made up of 18 advances and 2 super off peak returns and is. This would be lower is any people have railcards. There is only 1 change in each direction on these services.
Agreed. As mentioned in post #13, I did the same at noon and got even cheaper prices.

The East Coast site is still advertising the 'cheapest fares' guarantee quoted in post #4 - maybe scope for taking things further ?
 
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IanD

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Group booking no longer guarantee matching web fares...
East Coast are still claiming they do this on their website. I'd write to East Coast customer relations complaining about the 'bad' advice and price you got. Tell them how much you would have paid had you simply bought on-line and ask them to refund the difference. Get a screen grab from the group booking info and include that in your communication.

Also ask them for a date by which they will either i) update their website to not make false claims or ii) train their group booking staff to provide the service they advetise on their website.
 

Choothemoo

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Agreed. As mentioned in post #13, I did the same at noon and got even cheaper prices.

The East Coast site is still advertising the 'cheapest fares' guarantee quoted in post #4 - maybe scope for taking things further ?
The group booking said you could do this but would be unable to purchase all 20 after buying the first 9 the price would go up as availability had changed
 
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